New Santa Clarita mayor expects a busy year ahead

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champThe buildings are decades old and unable to keep up with the area’s growth, Kellar said. City officials want to partner with county agencies and The Newhall Land and Farming Company to coordinate efforts and share costs. The civic center sits on public land, but some private property would need to be transferred to public ownership to make an update happen, Kellar said. “Before 2008 is over, I am very hopeful we will have, at minimum, a good game plan in place so that we can move forward with this,” he said. Starting next year, city government also will embark on a campaign to educate residents about residential and business burglary, child safety, fire prevention and home safety. A different issue will be showcased each month, and residents will get information through radio, TV and print ads, as well as the city’s Web site, newsletter and quarterly magazine. SANTA CLARITA – Bob Kellar sees a busy and bright new year for the city of Santa Clarita. “I sincerely consider the city of Santa Clarita, which is still an extremely young city – only 20 years old – an absolute poster child of success,” he said. As the city’s new mayor, Kellar wants to focus on civic center needs, park expansions, arts awareness and a public-safety campaign to educate residents about crime-related issues. City officials are looking to update the civic center complex, which houses a Los Angeles County library branch, courthouse, sheriff’s station and other public agencies at Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway. “Your safety record – no matter what it is – is never good enough,” said Kellar, 63, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer. On the recreation front, a city consultant is scheduled to design the fourth phase of the Central Park expansion, including a recreation center, gym, pool, basketball courts and a cross-country trail. Construction will start on the new gym, sports fields and expanded skatepark on the 38 acres adjoining the city’s sports complex in Canyon Country. An avid arts supporter, Kellar wants more residents to attend local events at cultural spots like the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons and the Canyon Theatre Guild and Repertory East Playhouse in downtown Newhall. “Studies have shown the cities with strong support of the arts have higher ratings of community satisfaction and higher quality of life,” Kellar said when he was sworn in as the city’s mayor on Dec. 11. The valley boasts the Santa Clarita Symphony, the Santa Clarita Ballet and the Santa Clarita Valley artists association that residents need to know about, he said. “We have some incredible talent here in Santa Clarita,” Kellar said. “It’s exciting to go visit and see what it’s all about.” City priorities for 2008 include attempting to downsize the proposed Cemex sand and gravel mine, to block the 5,553-home Las Lomas project and to clean up the Whittaker-Bermite site for development, Kellar said. Mexico-based Cemex has plans to operate a 56 million-ton aggregate mine outside Santa Clarita, between Canyon Country and Agua Dulce. “We have to continue to give our attention to that until the day we have won that battle to ensure that that mine does not go through as proposed,” Kellar said. City officials are working with Cemex officials and U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, on potential legislation regarding the mine. The company and city officials have been at odds in the past and agreed to a one-year truce, which has been extended for six months. The Whittaker-Bermite site – about 1,000 acres – is in the heart of Santa Clarita, where the munitions manufacturing company, hoping for future development approval, is cleaning up contaminants in the soil and the groundwater. The proposed Las Lomas residential project would be just north of where Interstate 5 and the Antelope Valley Freeway meet. The project would negatively affect the quality of life of all Santa Clarita residents, Kellar said. “This is one of those projects, if you evaluate it, you just simply have to say no to it,” he said. “This is not a good project, and it should not occur.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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